Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial damaged by hit-and-run vandal

Someone in a 1980s red Chevrolet pickup caused $15,000 worth of damage driving through the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial grounds in Atascadero on Wednesday.

The hit-and-run vandal damaged several marble benches and lighting fixtures at the memorial, which is at Portola and Morro roads, Atascadero police Sgt. Jason Carr said.

A witness saw the truck drive through the memorial, causing the damage before fleeing up Amapoa Avenue. Atascadero police responded at about 10:05 a.m. and extensively searched the area but did not find the Chevy pickup, Carr said. Video surveillance is being reviewed to identify the suspect, and the investigation is continuing.

“Every indication right now is that this was intentional,” Carr said. “For whatever reason, the driver of the vehicle drove up over the curb and accelerated through the center of the memorial site.”

A city public works crew was brought in to remove two damaged marble benches, the light stanchions and other debris.

Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley said in a news release Wednesday, “On behalf of the council, I am saddened to hear about the damage done to the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial this morning.”

O’Malley asked for anyone with information about the vandalism to contact the Police Department.

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